John & I have had many, many conversations on what to do for our triplets when it comes to preschool. I researched several area schools and the cost for three kiddos to go to preschool ranges from about $750 to $1200 per month, depending on the program. We live in the Chicago suburbs and I know some areas are cheaper but it’s pricey here!! We’ve decided to have the triplets stay home with me for preschool & I’ll homeschool. I taught K-2 special ed the three years before they were born (& 4 years of high school special ed life skills before that). That experience & my education should make me capable to prepare them for kindergarten. I sure hope so anyway!!
I plan to start with preschool come August/September 2019. I’ve been reading a bunch about Montessori, home school styles, and scouring Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts for inspiration. After all of the research I’m starting to feel like my homeschool style will come out to be a mix of Montessori & Waldorf with a touch of school-at-home. I’m really excited to pour some time and energy back into education & to have my kids benefit from the efforts. Being a teacher was my career, but it was also my hobby, so I’m ready to get back to it!!
So with that said, I’m shaping my direction for my toy rotations to be more in-line with Montessori & Waldorf philosophies. Check out my most recent rotation for the week!
Handwork includes fine motor, so I’ve set them up with this fine motor puzzle. I am working with what we have for right now, so I have to say that this is not exactly Montessori because it doesn’t isolate a skill: they are completing a puzzle AND working on fine motor tasks. However, they do still enjoy the puzzle, particularly the buckle and zipper.
The kids have been absolutely obsessed with drumming lately. They want to drum with their silverware and any stick-like toy they can find. So in keeping with following the child, I decided to offer them a drum and drumstick. I found this little drum in the Target Bullseye’s Playground last week! The drum stick is something we already had.
Dramatic Play I
This adorable campfire set was another great Target Bullseye’s Playground find! The smores set was actually from last summer, but they have a similar one out right now. I got the campfire set with the burger, bread and hot dog last week. This set is let Montessori, and more Waldorf-inspired. I love watching Isla (it’s one of her favorites) take this set into their tepee and set up her fire and snack on her pretend smores that she’s cooked up. She loves to share her “tasty treats” too!
Dramatic Play II
The triplets are all very imaginative and I want to foster that. In the Montessori philosophy, most pretend play is out and replaced with the actual activity, so with this set, I’d really be more in line with Montessori to have the triplets learning to bake actual cookies. However, this is just really not where we are right now & the logistics of doing that with triplet two year olds and two month old is just not something I can tackle right now. So, I’m presently loving this Melissa and Doug cookie set! They triplets love them and have a great time “cooking” up treats for me while I feed Max. Story telling and dramatic play is more inline with Waldorf which is why I’m feeling inspired by both philosophies as I plan for the triplets’ toys/materials and their homeschool this fall.
I really like this puzzle because it teaches both animal sounds and the realistic image of each animal. It’s fun to see the kids use these materials in different ways too. Today Isla took the cat piece and was creating a little scene with it, complete with plenty of “meows!” I’m actually completely fine with this too, even if that’s not inline with some of these philosophies. I think it’s so important to know when you implement any parenting style or educational method, that it’s OK to do what works for your family & you don’t have to be 100% all-in! You don’t want to go too fast, burn out, or trying to make something fit that isn’t working. Being discerning is so important too!
In traditional Montessori classrooms you’ll find a set of cursive sandpaper letters. These are similar, but are printed, rather than cursive. These tactile letters actually came from my own special ed. classroom. I frequently taught using Orton-Gillingham which using a multi-sensory approach to learning to read and spell. I actually use these in some of my tutoring sessions at home too. This set came from a school supply company, but here is a similar set that is available on Amazon Prime. These are a favorite activity for Thomas. He’s learned a few letter names and enjoys saying them; tracing them is fun for him too!
I set this up to be an introductory activity for counting. Right now, it requires me to sit with them and model. This is totally fine! I like that they are learning the concept of numbers and one-to-one correspondence through play. This was sort of a DIY activity. The cubes are from Dollar Tree, the board & magnets are from two different sets in Bulleye’s Playground last year, and the basket was from my classroom. I’m not even totally positive were I bought that from!
These popsicles are another great…you guessed it…Target find! Seriously, that Bullseye’s Playground is my jam. I purchased this last year with the intention to use in my VIPKID tutoring. I do use them quite a bit for my classes, but I’m still on maternity leave right now so I decided to use this for the triplets this week. They really been enjoying it and surprised me with how well they can match colors.
And here’s a little bonus picture of our oldest triplet, T, holding his little brother Max!